CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Thousands of West Virginia students and teachers will join their counterparts in other states during February in celebration of Career Technical Education (CTE) Month.
Nationwide, some 14.4 million secondary and postsecondary students are enrolled in career and technical classes, including more than 160,000 high school students and more than 170,000 adults in West Virginia. Each year about 25 percent of all high school seniors in West Virginia graduate with four or more career technical courses.
“Today’s career and technical centers must prepare students for a global economy that is vastly different from the environment that ushered in public school vocational education nearly a century ago,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “Career and technical education now is characterized by ever-changing market demands, increasingly sophisticated technology and a need for a more thorough knowledge of business rather than narrow job tasks.”
West Virginia schools will recognize the month with job shadowing and entrepreneurship week events Feb. 18-25 as well as participating in Social Media Advocacy Day activities on Feb. 23. On this day, current and former CTE students, teachers, administrators, business owners and other stakeholders are asked to share their CTE experiences on the Internet.
Career and technical education has a long and rich history in American schools, dating back to the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. This legislation was enacted largely to prepare for jobs created by the industrial revolution and offer an alternative to traditional schools.
Students enrolled in career and technical education gain foundational knowledge and skills for a wide range of careers, including entrepreneur; automotive technician; architect; carpenter; nursing; dental; medical technician; careers related to food and fiber production and agribusiness; culinary arts; management and life skills; marketing; technology; welder, electrician; and engineering.
The West Virginia Department of Education recognizes the important role career technical education plays. That’s one reason the WVDE is working with the West Virginia Manufacturers Association as well as the oil and gas and mining industries to create career pathways, credentials and skill training to prepare students for a future with these industries. The programs of study provide a skill-based foundation needed for gainful employment or postsecondary education options.
For more information, contact Tracy Chenoweth in the Office of Career and Technical Accountability and Support at 304-558-2389, or the Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.